A Santa Clara University course optimistically titled, "The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes," was the setting for a February 26 academic debate on one of the world's most intractable disputes: The Arab/Israeli conflict.
San Jose State University Middle East history lecturer, David Meir-Levi, represented the pro-Israeli side of the equation, and UC Berkeley Islamic studies lecturer, Hatem Bazian, argued the pro-Palestinian position. Interestingly, each embodied the nationality of his respective side of the debate. David Meir-Levi is an American-born Israeli who once served in the Israeli Defense Forces, while Hatem Bazian is a Palestinian native.
Bazian is notorious for his transparently biased approach to the Arab/Israeli conflict. His call for "an intifada in this country" at a 2004 San Francisco anti-war protest is just one of many radical statements. More of an activist than an academic, Bazian personifies the politicization of Middle East studies today.
Meir-Levi, on the other hand, is known for his scrupulous scholarship on the subject of Middle East history. His recent book, History Upside Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression," as described by Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes, "applies great common sense where demagogues and ignorami too often dominate."
Throughout the debate, Meir-Levi succeeded in turning history or, rather, the inaccurate historical narrative popular on college campuses, upside down, exposing the fallacy of Bazian's arguments in the process.